David Grossman – USA
David Grossman, author and photographer
David is a professional photographer who lives in the New York region. He is a life-time student of Theosophy and active as treasurer in the board of International Theosophy Conferences. (ITC) Over the past years we have used many of his at times intriguing images. In this issue of Theosophy Forwardhe elaborates on the theme of UNITY; his thoughts on this profound subject are accompanied by a number of his fine photographs.
Whether we survey the scientific arena or pan across the world’s religions all seem to agree that we are interconnected and interdependent; the practical “takeaway” from that truth is we are effecting each other all the time by the choices we make. We not only effect and affect our own lives but the lives of others; family, neighbors, community, the natural world, the ripple effect goes on and on.
So many of us now live in urban, artificial environments that we have lost touch with how dependent we are on the natural world, air, water, earth, food quality, and weather. And since the rise of what has truly become the “global village” do to the development of the various technologies and means of communication we find ourselves dependent on resources, goods, & services on a daily basis that come from all over the planet. Yes, life has gotten to such a level of complexity that we have become confused to what is really in our best interests. And to make matters even worse we humans have a tendency to be very habitual, that is, if we have been doing things a certain way for a long time we think the world will come to an end if we change our ways. We are afraid we will lose our identity. We get locked into political, social, class, religious, and national (the list goes on and on) ideologies and refuse to realize they didn’t come from “god” nor are they laws of nature. We then tend to fight “tooth & nail” to preserve the status quo even if it is not in our best interests any longer.
So the irony is, with all our wonderful intellectual, scientific and technological advancement why are we on the brink of a true environmental collapse of our life support systems? We tend to avoid the serious facts of air pollution, water pollution and shortages, soil erosion, growing mental health issues and the rise of diseases like diabetes, obesity and various forms of cancer. We should remember that we have created these conditions and we have the power to change them.
It seems that some things we can only learn the hard way, experientially and often painfully. In his “Proverbs Of Hell” the visionary artist William Blake puts it this way; “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom...You never know what is enough until you know what is more than enough.” But the question becomes, reflecting on much of human history, “Why don’t we always learn from our experience?” To put it simply we’ve stopped asking the vital questions of life, like why are we here, is there a purpose to life, what in life is really satisfying and meaningful in a lasting way? (These aren’t required courses for high school graduation at least in the United States) What is the root of this “interconnectedness” that we don’t always acknowledge?
Theosophy proposes that there is an underlying unity to lifeand this is the basis for all the interconnectedness. In her presentation of Theosophy which she refers to as the Wisdom Tradition, ( religious science and scientific religion) HPB goes right to the metaphysical root when she states:
“The radical unity of the ultimate essence of each constituent part of compounds in Nature – from Star to mineral Atom, from the highest Dhyåni-Chohan to the smallest infusoria, in the fullest acceptation of the term, and whether applied to the spiritual, intellectual, or physical worlds – this is the one fundamental law in Occult Science.” (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, p.120)
The implication being we all rise and/or fall together.
How is it from the “Radical Unity” has come the intense divisiveness of our times; constant streams of war between and withinnations, the creation of economic, social and religious caste systems for ourselves that cause injustice and human sorrow? Why is it we all too often dissect & divide rather than come together and unify.
Madame Blavatsky introduces the connecting 1st law of life activity working on all planes. It links us here in the world of duality with that all spiritual underlying unity. She says,
“The one life is closely related to the one law which governs the World of Being – Karma. Exoterically, this is simply and literally “action,” or rather an “effect-producing cause.” Esoterically it is quite a different thing in its far-fetching moral effects. It is the unerring Law of Retribution.” (The Secret Doctrine, Vol. 1, P.634)
According to Theosophical teachings it is because we identify with the form and not the underlying unity of life, the center of our true individuality, that we have gone so far astray. It is the fear that there is nothing else, that keeps us holding on to that which will turn to dust along with our bodies whether that be money, status, power, caste, class, any and all false identifications. We develop tendencies or “Skandhas around these and attract them again and again (reincarnation) until we transform them with the freeing light of awareness. Awareness of what? Awareness that each of us is a creative agent in this dualistic world of form. And again reminding us that we are all interconnected, an expression of that all too often forgotten underlying unity. HPB brings us back to the fact, and inspires us with realistic hope when she reminds us,
“It is an occult law moreover, that no man can rise superior to his individual failings without lifting, be it ever so little, the whole body of which he is an integral part. In the same way no one can sin, nor suffer the effects of sin, alone. In reality, there is no such thing as ‘separateness’ and the nearest approach to that selfish state which the laws of life permit is in the intent or motive.” (The Key to Theosophy, Section XI “What is Karma” P.203 Theosophy Company-original facsimile edition)
So it is a kind of paradox that this spiritual unity, the essence of our being allows for all the disunity and pain we experience as a species. We must rise above the duality, just as we must experience it while in the body. We can all take a cue from I. Lilias Trotter, “Believe in the darkness what you have seen in the light.”
The world could really benefit from an understanding of the twin doctrines of karma & reincarnation, the inner constitution of man and the fact that we have the spiritual, intellectual and Heart power to transform the world into a wonderful place for all to evolve together.